The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Residents encouraged to "put down the phone" when driving

WHITBY, ON May 09, 2016 - National Road Safety Week is May 17 to 23 and Durham Region Health Department is promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and the risk to everyone from this behavior through a campaign entitled, "Put down the phone".

As part of this campaign, the Health Department will air three commercials on CHEX-TV this spring and fall. The first commercial, "Man’s best friend", highlights a man and his dog, while the second, "Who is depending on you?" features a mom and her toddler son. The third commercial, "True friends wait", includes a group of teen friends. These commercials focus on the message of who is important to all of us and the significance of putting down the phone while driving.

According to Parachute Canada, distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic-related deaths in Ontario and texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 times, compared to a driver who is focused on the road.  Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, distracted driving may result in fines between $300 and $1,000, and three demerit points.

"We all have loved ones counting on us to get them safely to their destination and distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving," explained Cynthia Rogers, a public health nurse with the Health Department. "Many people may not be aware, but reading a text is just as dangerous as sending one. We’re reminding residents to put down their phones while driving and also remember to slow down, as many people potentially head out over the upcoming long weekend."

For more information about distracted driving or to view the commercials, visit Information is also available by calling Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.